Hike to Hike Inn
Hi. That is what it says on the back of my new t-shirt that I bought at Hike Inn. I never buy t-shirts from a vacation spot, but this one stuck out. It reminded me of the 7UP commercials where the guy is walking around with the T that says “make 7” on the front and “up yours” on the back. I expect to hear “Hi!” a lot wearing this shirt!
A Camping Compromise
I have friends that consider camping to be a night spent at a Holiday Inn. I am not one of these girls. I love to camp, in a tent, on the ground.
But for all of you girls that love the great outdoors, but prefer to end your day with a hot shower and a warm (soft!) bed, what are your options? And guys, how do you get your ladies out overnight?
Two words: Hike Inn.
A 5 mile trek from the top of Amicalola Falls. It is a beautiful hike through a diverse mountain trail marked by lime green trail blaze. Follow the blaze to the end and you are greeted by the roof line of the four buildings that make up the Hike Inn: the guestrooms, bath house, dining room, and sunrise room.
The Hike Inn Experience
Did you go to summer camp when you were a kid? I loved summer camp! I loved swinging over creeks, riding horses, trying new things like archery or canoeing, campfires with smores, staying up late and whispering with new friends, and I loved getting out of town!
Now imagine an adult version of summer camp and you have Hike Inn. The Guestrooms at Hike Inn are bunk rooms just like at summer camp with a few exceptions:
- These aren’t split up boy/ girl
- There is only one set of bunks, so you have privacy
- They are really clean
- If you find underwear on the floor it is either yours or whoever you traveled with
- You won’t be woken up by middle school boys spraying a fire extinguisher in your room or singing “Rise and Shine!” at the top of their lungs (Yes- both of those things happened in my camp history)
Now, I’m not sure how they found the people who are cooking up the food they serve in the Dining Room, but all I can say is “Thank goodness they did!”. After that hike I worked up quite an appetite, and they know how to put a meal on the table.
Served family style, we had a salad, turkey and gravy with mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and chess pie for dinner our first evening there. Breakfast the next morning was scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, biscuits, and grits.
Note that you will get a chat from the staff about only taking what you will eat from the bowls. Because they can eat the leftovers from the serving bowls, their goal is zero table waste. That might seem a bit extreme until you consider how they have to get all their supplies in to the Hike Inn, too! Yep, that’s right: Hiking! FYI- we had zero waste at the meals when we were there and it has certainly made me more conscientious at home about serving size and leftovers- a great take away!
A True Get Away
One of the most important things about getting out of town and going away? Down time. And with their remote location, Hike Inn really affords some down time. The Sunrise Room provided us plenty of opportunities to relax with games, books, puzzles, and even a guitar (which Mr. Wonderful had a jam session on!).
Also available? Conversation with your family, friends or fellow hiker that you met on the trail or at dinner. We met couples from Nashville, Atlanta, Texas and South Carolina. We also met a group of men from Florida that were hiking a leg of the AT.
Some of the groups were coming through for one night while some were staying multiple evenings and day hiking to enjoy the beauty of the fall in the forest.
And that sunrise you see in the pictures? I got that shot the morning we were there overlooking the valley below the Inn. Beautiful and worth getting up for!
For Next Time
I can’t wait to go back to Hike Inn. Next time we will go for at least two nights; we want to hike in on day one, then day hike Springer Mountain on Day 2. (Springer Mountain is the southern terminus access trail to the Appalachian Trail.) We would hike back out on day 3.
When Thing 1 & Thing 2 are 8 or 9 I think we will be ready to go as a family as well. And with no cell access and no TV’s it will force them to talk to their parents, which I hear may be an issue at that age. On the other hand… maybe I’ll leave them at home.
- Wear good hiking shoes: If you are new to hiking, get fitted for a pair (and break them in!). Tennis shoes won’t cut it here. There are some pretty descent elevation changes and some terrain that might be difficult for the inexperienced.
- Don’t over pack: You’re carrying your luggage on your back after all. Do you really need makeup and volumizing spray? I think not! I would however encourage you to bring a comfortable pair of shoes to change into. Flip-flops anyone?
- Supplies: The Bath House has shampoo, body wash and hair dryers, so check those off your backpack list! And it was clean and well maintained. This is important stuff to help you guys sell your significant others!
- Reservations: Your reservations are rain or shine, so be prepared for inclement weather. (Or book at the last minute if you are flexible mid-week.)
- Scheduling: Hike Inn often is full on weekends but if you have a flexible schedule, wait for a pretty weekday then reserve a night or two. Watch their Facebook page for last minute mid-week specials as well.
- Be realistic: This is not the Ritz Carlton. Or even the Holiday Inn. Hike Inn is non-profit. Please do not expect a spa or room service.